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Introduction to the Book of Zohar. Items 60-71

60. The Baal HaSulam tells us that during its long history “The Book of Zohar” was ascribed to many different Kabbalists. But only the person who penetrates the inner meaning of this book and understands from what high spiritual level it descended (from Arich Anpin of the world of Atzilut, i.e., it reaches the world of Infinity), can also realize that it could be written by none other than Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai.

We know that Kabbalah divides all history into the following periods: first man develops as an animal, then the soul descends into him (in the year 0 according to the Jewish calendar, i.e., 5764 years ago), and then the development of a point in his heart (soul) begins.

Let us have a look at a graph and see how the body was developing. The spiritual point descended into man’s heart 5764 years ago and activated for the first time. The next manifestation of the spiritual desire took place in Abraham in around 1947 B.C. The point in the heart continued its development in parallel with egoism, whose growth led to the destruction of the Temple.

Both the first and the second Temples were ruined, i.e., all spiritual levels fell with regard to the point in heart. “The Book of Zohar” was written after the destruction of the second Temple. Its author Rabbi Shimon lived before and after the destruction of the Temple, but the book could not have been written prior to that event, because there had been no need for such a spiritual source to raise people from the level of a completely shattered screen.

Rabbi Shimon was one of the disciples of the famous sage Rabbi Akiva who left us the entire spiritual legacy available today. This man’s story is amazing. He was neither a Jew nor a believer until the age of 40. Then he began to study Kabbalah, and later became a great scholar and teacher. His life was full of unexpected turns, but finally he achieved the highest possible spiritual level.

Needless to say, being Rabbi Shimon’s teacher, he was on a much higher level than his disciple. One of Rabbi Akiva’s students wrote the Babylonian Talmud, another – “The Book of Zohar”. In other words, Rabbi Akiva was the embodiment of a vast amount of wisdom about the universe that filled many sacred books.

However, Rabbi Akiva could not write a composition like “The Book of Zohar” because before the destruction of the Temple such a great, exalted power was not necessary. There was still nothing to correct. When the Temple ceased to be, his last disciple Rabbi Shimon wrote “The Book of Zohar”. Naturally, the book could not have been written by any other man born after the destruction of the Temple.

This happened in around the 2nd Century A.D., and there have been no such Kabbalists ever since. Only in the 16th Century did the Ari’s special soul descend to our world and elevate Kabbalah to a new level. In the 20th Century the soul of the Baal HaSulam appeared.

This is what the great Kabbalists writes:

From the very day that I merited the light of the Creator and saw what was written in the Book of Zohar, I have not had any need to research the facts about its authorship. This is due to the simple reason that the content of the book raised the prominence of Rabbi Shimon to the unattainable height above all other Kabbalists in my heart.

However, if I had found that the author of the book is someone else, for example, Rabbi Moses de Leon, the greatness of this Kabbalist would rise in me more than for all the rest, including Rabbi Shimon.

Honestly speaking, according to the depth of wisdom in this book, had I learned that its author was one of the 48 prophets (the Kabbalists who attained a high spiritual level called prophecy) , my heart would rather agree with this than with the fact that Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochaiwrote this book (for R. Shimon was only a Tanai, i.e., a Kabbalist who lived after the destruction of the Temple). If I had learned that Moses had received this book from the Creator Himself on Mount Sinai, I would rest assured. This is how great this book is.

Since I merited creating a commentary suited for anyone with a desire to understand what is written in the book itself, I believe I have fulfilled everything to keep from such work and research (regarding the authorship of “The Zohar”). This is because, as anyone who understands “The Book of Zohar, I cannot be satisfied with the notion that the author of the Book of Zohar can be someone less holy than Rabbi Shimon (i.e., born later than R. Shimon, because holiness diminishes with time).

61. We should ask at this point why “The Zohar” was not revealed to earlier generations, whose merit was undoubtedly greater than of the later ones, and who were more worthy of studying the book?

Since, as we see, “The Book of Zohar” was given for the correction of our egoism, a question arises: why could the first generations not receive it? If the Creator created us so opposite to Himself, why could He not at the same time hand us an instruction for correcting that state?

Why do we have to suffer during thousands of years, only to discover later that there is an opportunity to make such a correction? Why are babies and innocent adults living in such pain, why is there so much anguish in the world? This refers to the same question: why is “The Book of Zohar” revealed to us only now?

So I would like to repeat:

Why was “The Zohar” not revealed to earlier generations (that lived before the destruction of the Temple)?

Perhaps, it could have encouraged them to disseminate the wisdom of Kabbalah the world over, and humankind could have avoided such a lengthy period of suffering. We have no idea how much time people are destined to suffer before they accept this method of correction that will elevate them to the level of perfection and eternity.

Their merit was undoubtedly greater than of the later ones, and who were more worthy of studying the book.

On the one hand, their egoism was small, on the other – they had enormous inner resources unsuppressed by egoism, so they undoubtedly could study this book much more effectively. They were much closer to this material than we are with all our mercantile problems, modern technology, stupefying advertising, etc.

We can also ask why the commentary to “The Zohar” was not revealed together with the book to the Ari or to the earlier Kabbalists.

Why is there such a long prelude stretched along the axis of time – the Torah, the Ari (the 16th Century), and the Baal HaSulam (the 20th Century) – before we in our time begin discovering “The Book of Zohar”?

The answer is that during the six thousand years of its evolution the world must go through a full period of correction.

We do not take into consideration the world that existed before a new spiritual point (of Bina) appeared in man’s heart (Malchut). Until there is no interaction between the heart and the point in it, nothing else really matters, because it simply constitutes a development of the body, animal existence.

The world during the six thousand years of its existence is like one Partzuf (spiritual entity) that is divided into three parts: Rosh, Toch, and Sof, or HaBaD (Hochma, Bina, Da'at), HaGaT (Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet) and NHY (Netzah, Hod, Yesod). Alternatively, as our sages said: "The first two thousand years are called Tohu (chaos), the second two thousand years are called the Torah, and the last two thousand years are called the days of Mashiach (Messiah)”.

In the first two millennia (Rosh or HaBaD), the lights were very small, and they were regarded as a head without a body. It only has the light of Nefesh, because there is an inverse relationship between lights and vessels. The rule is that the upper vessels grow first in each Partzuf, whereas, for the lights the opposite applies - the lights with a smaller Aviut dress first in the Partzuf. Thus, as long as there are only the upper parts of the vessels, i.e., the HaBaD vessels, only the lights of Nefesh can dress in the Partzuf, which are the lowest lights.

Hence, the first two thousand years are called the Tohu (chaos). In other words, there can still be no correct interaction between the Kelim (vessels) and Ohrot (lights).

During the second two thousand years (the Kelim of HaGaT) the light of Ruach (Aviut Aleph) descends to the world. It is also called the light of the Torah (Torah is something that gives life, Ruach already constitutes a movement). Therefore, the second two millennia are called the Torah.

The last two thousand years are the Kelim of NHY (the period of correction, or the Mashiach, the year 0 according to the Gregorian calendar), therefore, at this time, the light of Neshama descends.

The lights that descend are basically Neshama, Haya, and Yechida inside the light of Neshama. This is because it is impossible to correct the third and the fourth levels of desire before the Gmar Tikkun.

Only the levels zero, one, and two can be completely corrected. Hence, the level of Neshama is called the days of the Mashiach.

That is, this level is already a force that brings egoistic desires to correction. The Mashiach is a force of Bina, i.e., the second level of the screen, because when Malchut acquires the properties of Bina, it transforms its desires and makes them similar to the Creator’s. In other words, it provides Malchut with the screen necessary for correction. The descent of the OhrNeshama to our world corrects Malchut. The light of Neshama is alternatively called “Mashiach” (from the word Limshoch – to pull), meaning the light that pulls egoism up to the level of altruism.

This order applies to each particular Partzuf (each soul) as well as to the entire universe. Every soul, yours or mine, goes through all periods of its development. Long ago, we were in those periods when our body was developing, and then the point in heart appeared and gradually grew in all of us.

It does not matter in what souls or bodies it all happened, for everything is mixed at the soul’s level. The division into nations and sexes is purely relative. All parts gradually and constantly intermix because after Adam’s soul had broken, all souls were mixed. So, whatever corrections the different souls made, ultimately they become thoroughly interconnected.

The lights in the Kelim HaBaD and HaGaT to Chazeh of the Partzuf are concealed, so that the light of Hassadim does shine openly. This means that the luminescence of Hochma appears from Chazeh and below, i.e., in the Kelim of NHYM (Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut). The reason for this lies in the fact that before the Kelim de NHYM began to manifest in the Partzuf of the world, meaning the last two thousand years, the wisdom of “The Zohar” in general, and of Kabbalah in particular, was concealed from the world.

What does the Baal HaSulam mean? The problem is that the light of Hochma cannot shine in the Kli unless the light of Hassadim enters it previously.

A vessel is created as a desire to receive pleasure. Unless the vessel acquires a screen, which complements the Ohr Yashar with the Ohr Hozer, no light can enter into the Kli. We can explain it in a different way: until the vessel (egoism) is lined inside with the altruistic intentions (of bestowal), the light of Hochma has no way of entering it.

But how can these altruistic intentions manifest? This can only happen during the last two millennia, when the light of Neshama descends to our world. Therefore, before this period (i.e., before the Sof), prior to the appearance and development of the Kelim de NHY, Kabbalah cannot be revealed in our world. In other words, the light of wisdom, the knowledge about the structure of the universe, cannot be revealed to the souls. They are still insufficiently egoistic to be corrected with the light of Neshama and to receive even a minimal amount of the Ohr Hochma.

We are now living in the year 2004, which corresponds to 5764 of the Jewish calendar. This means that we have less than 240 years left.

The Baal HaSulam says that “…before the Kelim de NHYM began to manifest in the Partzuf of the world, meaning the last two thousand years, the wisdom of “The Zohar” in general, and of Kabbalah in particular, was concealed from the world. Only during the time of the Ari, when the time for completion of the Kelim from Chazeh and below arrived, i.e., in each of the three periods: HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY, the Kelim develop and are corrected, afterwards followed by the Ohrot (lights). Suppose that the Kelim of NHY were developing from the beginning of this period and onwards until the time of the Ari.

Thanks to the holy soul of Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Ari for short) the radiance of the Supreme wisdom was revealed. The Kelim de NHY were sufficiently developed by his time, hence this special soul descended to our world.

Any descent of souls, including yours and mine, is predetermined by the previous general and individual development of the Kelim de NHY. In our time, they are called NHY, in the past they were called HaBaD and HaGaT. So in fact, the history of humankind is a development of Partzuf from up down. This determines what souls descend to this world, how they dress into bodies, in what society, state or environment they find themselves, etc.

But since the soul of the Ari appeared after the development of all the vessels of NHY, he was able to reveal the greatness of “The Book of Zohar” and the wisdom of Kabbalah and by so doing overshadow all of his predecessors.

That is, from the moment " The Book of Zohar" appeared, it concentrated in itself all the knowledge that had been received from the Kabbalists living before the destruction of the Temple. The book is considered so great, not because the Kelim of NHY were still undeveloped, but because its wisdom was received by very exalted souls that lived at that time.

The Baal HaSulam says that he would have been glad to hear that “The Book of Zohar” was written by one of the 48 prophets or by Moses, for it contains all wisdom of the previous generations.

Only the Ari could be the next in line; only he could explain and elevate Kabbalah by expounding everything that is available to us today. Practically, the Ari introduced the method of correction to the world. Since the Kelim de NHY had completed their development, his soul could descend to our world and provide us with everything necessary for the correction of our souls (Kelim). His soul is a collective image of all the Kelim of HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY. He, as it were, completed their development. After the Kelim manifested, but before the lights entered them, the Ari appeared at once. Therefore, the collection of his works (more than 20 volumes) constitutes a complete method of spiritual ascent, spiritual correction.

None of the Kabbalists before the Ari could understand exactly how the spiritual correction takes place. No one could reach his level of attainment because these Kelim were not sufficiently developed in the creation.

Before the Ari, all humankind existed at the stage of development of the Kelim HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY, of all ten Sefirot. Since his time and on the acquisition of a screen and reception of the light in these fully developed Kelim has begun. The entire universe was included in these HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY. However, the Baal HaSulam continues:

But these Kelim were not fully developed because the Ari did not have enough time to complete all the necessary corrections.

We shall later discuss why the Ari failed. Naturally, it so happened because there were objective, profound reasons and not because he suddenly fell sick and died. Rather, he fell sick and died because there had been certain prerequisites in the development of these Kelim.

But these Kelim were not fully developed because the Ari, as we know, passed away in 1572 (5332 according to the Jewish calendar). The world was not yet ready for the Ari’s revelations.

He did not have enough time to pass to the world in action all that he wrote in his books.

His legacy, forbidden to be disclosed to the world, was used only by a chosen few.

In one of his letters, the Baal HaSulam tells this story. The Ari lived only 36 years. He never wrote any books by himself. During the last one and a half years of his life he had a disciple by the name of Haim Vital (Marhu). Haim was 28 at the time, while the Ari was 36. Think of how young these two men were!

During the time he spend beside the Ari, Haim Vital learned everything that later allowed him to write more than 20 thick volumes. It seems incredible to us. While reading the Ari’s compositions written down by Haim Vital after his Teacher’s death, it is impossible to imagine how this amount of information could be heard in a relatively short period, let alone be put down on paper.

Whatever H. Vital had learned from his great Teacher in only eighteen months, he described in a series of note-books, which were buried with him after his death. In his will he insisted that they be put in his grave in Safed (Tzefat, a town in North Galilee). The Ari and Haim Vital used to live in this ancient town in the north of Galilee. My students and I often come to this place, and immerse ourselves in the same spring where the Ari used to have his ablutions. There is still a place above the old cemetery where the Ari’s house used to stand.

Haim Vital was unwilling to publish his writings, believing that neither he nor his generation was sufficiently mature for this knowledge. Only years later his son, grandson and great-grandsons began to publish the Ari’s compositions. During three hundred years these books were gradually coming out, and today they are known to us as the collection of the Ari’s works.

Some of them were revealed at the time of the Baal Shem Tov (Besht). This great Kabbalist lived in the 17th Century in the Ukraine. Like the Ari, the Baal Shem Tov never penned anything by himself.

A few books were written by some of his disciples. The Baal HaSulam composed “The Study of the Ten Sefirot” and “The Sulam” as commentaries on the Ari’s books and “The Book of Zohar”.

With the help of these two books, we can complete our correction, because during the time period between the Ari and the Baal HaSulam the Kelim of NHY completed their development and were filled with all principal lights. As this greatest Kabbalist of our time had predicted, starting from the end of the last century the spiritual ascent towards the End of correction began. With the help of his books all subsequent generations will follow our path.

63. Now we can clearly see that the souls of the earlier generations were immeasurably higher than those of the later generations. The rule for all Partzufim, both pertaining to worlds and to souls, is that the purest vessels are corrected first.

Pure means having a small Aviut, small egoism, hence they are easier to correct.

Thus, the Kelim of HaBaD (of chaos) both of the world and the souls were introduced first to our world. Therefore, the souls of the first two millennia are incomparably higher than those that came after them.

The souls that descended during the first two thousand years of our world’s existence were very sublime and pure. Man of that time needed very little. He was quite content with a shelter, a small amount of food, and security. His egoism did not push him towards any serious undertakings. Exalted souls are not necessarily those that have profound attainments. They can feel the spiritual worlds due to their purity.

Despite their tremendous elevation, they could not receive the full amount of light due to the lack of their own lower components, the Kelim of HaGaT and NHYM.

They lacked these two parts; therefore, the light in them was only Nefesh.

During the middle period, when the vessels of the worlds and of the souls that emerged were of the Kelim of HaGaT, the souls were still extremely pure.

They were pure because the Kelim of HaGaT are a replica of the Kelim of HaBaD, albeit on the corporeal level. We know that there are ten Sefirot: Keter, Hochma, and Bina, then Hesed, Gevura, and Tifferet, then Netzah, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut. Hesed is similar to Keter, Gevura is like Tifferet. The Baal HaSulam says that just because the Kelim of HaGaT resemble the Kelim of HaBaD very pure souls descended to our world before the destruction of the Temple.

At the same time, the lights were still concealed in the worlds due to the lack of egoism in these Kelim.

For the most part, egoism is in the Kelim of NHY. As soon as these vessels began developing, both the first and then the second Temples were destroyed. The spiritual collapse that took place as a result of a transition from Bina to the vessels of reception ( Kelim de Kabbalah) through Tifferet echoed in our world as the physical destruction of the two Temples.

Accordingly, in our generation, in which the lowest souls in all creation that could not be corrected until now, they still complement the Kelim-Partzufim of the common soul. The work can only be completed with their help.

The Baal HaSulam says that although the Kelim of NHY are the worst and most egoistic, yet the completion of the work is impossible without them because they are exactly the vessels to be corrected. Their development starts after the destruction of the Temple, and then followed by the development of the lights in these Kelim.

The preliminary light entered into the Kelim of NHY thanks to the work of the Kabbalists who lived in the period between the Ari and the Baal HaSulam. What does the name “preliminary light” mean? If we divide the Kelim of NHY into ten Sefirot, we will come out with three periods, HaBaDdeNHY, HaGaT de NHY, and NHY de NHY. From our time and on NHY de NHY constitute the most egoistic Kelim.

Therefore, all that is left for us to do is to realize this method of correction, i.e., to use the power that was given to us by Rabbi Shimon, the Ari, and the Baal HaSulam. In our time this power is called Mashiach.

Hence, the Baal HaSulam writes:

Now that the vessels of NHY are completed (as well as the lights in them) and the vessels of Rosh, Toch, and Sof of the Partzuf (all the Kelim in our world) can draw on the full measure of the necessary lights in Rosh, Toch, and Sof, the complete lights of NaRaN(Nefesh, Ruach, Neshama with Haya and Yechida inside them). Therefore, only with the completion of preparation of these lowest souls could the highest lights be revealed, and not prior to this.

Only thanks to us will the light enter into this world. We will attract it with our most evil, awful egoism because by this we complete the structure of the Partzuf of the entire creation.

64. This was a problem that pre-occupied the sages, and it was clear to them that the earlier generations were much more important than the later ones pertaining to their vessels, properties, and desires, which were considerably closer to the properties of the light.

Their vessels were very small, pure, and sublime in comparison with ours. They were much closer to the light, whereas we are completely opposite to it in our desires.

But the wisdom of Torah (all understanding, attainment and depth of sensations) is manifested in the later generations a lot more, due to the increased general volume of the Kli.

As is well known, the general volume of egoism is contained in the Sof of the Partzuf. So it turns out that the correction takes place with the help of the last generations.

65. This is because actions originate in the pure Kelim, whereas the secrets of Torah stem from the light of the Sefirot.

The revelation of light occurs inside the soul, in our Kelim, inside our consciousness. Since the Kelim and Ohrot are inversely related, the lower the Kelim of NHY are, the more the lights of Neshama, Haya, and Yechida enter into them. Our generation is therefore able to draw tremendous light to this world.

We are now in the Kelim of NHY, which approach their completion, but do not possess a screen. The Kelim that manifest now are empty. That is why our time is so tough, egoistic, cruel and barbaric in its essence. We are now standing at a threshold of reception of light in the empty Kelim.

If we acquire a screen, we shall instantly begin drawing the Upper light. It will pass through our souls to the rest of the world. We are now in a very critical state, when all the Kelim are ready, but devoid of light. In other words, our egoism, enormous and empty, is waiting to be filled with light.

A fearful state of dismay, disorientation, and confusion is growing steadily each day. Where is this world heading? Why does it exist? Why are we here? This is our condition today.

We are left with only one choice: to begin working with a screen, because only this way all our empty Kelim can be filled with light. If we take “The Book of Zohar”, the works of the Ari with the Baal HaSulam’s commentaries provided specially for our souls, we will be able to attract the Upper Light. HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY will begin to receive the light of Neshama. It is also called the light of Mashiach because this light of Bina corrects the properties of Malchut. All correction is based on this combination, merging of Bina and Malchut.

By feeling the influence of the light of Bina and the light of Mashiach, the creation will bond with the Creator. This will mark the complete and final deliverance from egoism, and entrance into eternity and perfection.

By knowing the roots of our past, we can graphically depict the history of our world. This graph can show all possible nuances and minute details. We can see in it the birth and predestination of any historical personality; understand the causes of historic events, catastrophes, and wars.

Everything is predetermined on this axis of human evolution, starting with the point from which our universe emerged, to the formation of the solar system, to the birth of the Earth and people on its surface, to the appearance of the spiritual point in man’s heart, when he was sufficiently mature in his animal properties. Taking the point in the heart as a zero point, we begin our count up to the Final ultimate state, when the whole world will reach a state called “the End of correction”. After that, the world will continue its existence as it did before the zero point.

Previously, the bodies were developing, whereas by the end of the six-thousand-year period the souls will continue evolving, because the body will lose its significance. Our world, our universe, however, will not change in any way.

We can see many things on the axis of time. This is a part of the so-called historical Kabbalah or, rather, of the Kabbalistic history. We only need to receive from all this an answer to the age-old question about the meaning of our life.

Why should I know how this complex system is functioning outside me? Of course it is interesting information, but then what next?

Kabbalah is based on one single question: Why do I exist? By searching for the answer to this question, man attains the universe. He is first given the vessels, then is allowed to acquire a screen, and finally is filled with the light. Thus he finds the answer and reaches the Creator’s level.

How does the correction take place beginning from 1995 and on according to what the Baal HaSulam predicted? We are now living in 2004 or, according to the spiritual chronology, in 5764. How should we proceed?

The Baal HaSulam says; if we are destined to make corrections, naturally we should do it on ourselves. What does it mean? It should be done by people living in today’s world; hence, each of us has his or her own mission, role, and a precise predestination.

66. Now you must know that everything has an inner aspect and an outer aspect.

The Kelim HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY are further divided from up downwards into the inner and outer parts. Let us see what the difference between them is. They consist of ten Sefirot, or, alternatively, of Rosh, Toch, and Sof.

Israel refers to the inner part of the world, whereas other nations are considered its outer part.

Please do not misinterpret these names; they do not concern nationalities, but speak of spiritual conformity. If we take this particular Partzuf, the Kelim HaBaD and HaGaT will be called Israel, and the Kelim of NHY will be called the nations of the world. In this case, we see that without engaging the nations of the world in this work Israel will be utterly unable to receive the Upper light.

The nations will be left without the light unless Israel passes them Kabbalah, the method of spiritual correction. That is, the combination of Israel and the nations of the world are similar to the combination of Galgalta Eynaim and AHP.

Within Israel itself, there is an inner aspect that consists of those people who are committed to serve the Creator, and an outer aspect consisting of those who are not involved in spiritual work. Likewise, amongst the nations of the world there is an inner part called the righteous of the world and an outer part, which consists of those who are destructive and coarse.

In other words, there is a division into GE and AHP. Each of these parts has its own GE and AHP. GE and AHP in GE correspond to those who work for the Creator within Israel and those who are not. GE and AHP in the nations of the world are the righteous people and those who cause damage.

Even amongst those of Israel who work for the Creator, there is an inner part and an outer part. The inner part is comprised of those who are privileged to achieve spiritual attainment, and to grasp the secrets of the creation through attaining the Upper light. The outer part consists of people who only perform actions without comprehending their inner meaning.

Similarly every individual person has the inner part (GE, the point in heart) and the outer part referred to as the nations of the world, or the body.

Both the nations of the world and Israel are also divided into these parts. What is the essence of this division? It began from the time of Abraham who received the very first point in the heart and developed it.

When a man of Israel elevates his inner part over his outer part, meaning that he dedicates most of his time and effort to the enhancement of his innermost part as regards his outer part, the body, then by this he raises his spiritual aspect of the material one.

But if the opposite occurs, and a man of Israel elevates his outer material part over the inner, spiritual one, the outer part (the coarse and harmful elements in the nations of the world) accordingly rises over the inner part (the righteous among the nations of the world) and calamities and wars befall the world.

These actions raise the outer part of the nations of the world, prevail over the inner part, and consequently the destructive elements within the nations of the world prevail over Israel.

Thus, through suffering, everything facilitates the return to a state where Galgalta Eynaim, the souls of Israel, draw the Upper light to the world.

68. Do not be surprised by the fact that even an individual person, through his or her deeds, can cause an elevation or degradation of the whole world. This is an unalterable law that the whole and its parts are as identical as two drops of water. Everything that occurs in the whole occurs in its parts as well, and vice versa. Furthermore, whatever happens in the parts happens in the whole, because the whole is only revealed through the manifestation of its individual parts, according to both their measure and quality.

We are all dependent on one another. Until all of us have their vessels corrected, no one will be able to achieve full individual correction. The complete, truly absolute correction is when not only I am corrected through the world, but through me the whole world reaches the same state. We are all parts of one universe, one closed system, one soul called Adam, which emerged from the zero point.

Kabbalah correlates the notion of the zero point with the creation of Adam. What is Adam? Adam is the spiritual point in man’s heart. We all originate from this point, from which all the Kelim of HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY – Chaos, Torah, and Mashiach – began to emerge.

The Baal HaSulam writes:

So certainly, the influence of every soul, i.e., each one of us, may lower or elevate the whole system, all the Kelim of HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY.

This is how we can understand what is written in “The Zohar” that through the study of this book and the practice of the true wisdom, we can put an end to our state of exile and achieve a complete redemption.

A question may arise: What could studying “The Zohar” have to do with redeeming Israel from among the nations of the world? How can it possibly help to redeem the nations of the world and Israel from their egoism?

69. From what we have read, it is clear that the Torah, like the world itself, has an inner and an outer aspect.

There are two levels in the Torah. If man concentrates his efforts on the inner part of the Torah, namely on Kabbalah, in the same degree he elevates the inner part in the world. Then, consequently, a redistribution of forces takes place, when Israel and the nations of the world begin to realize the importance of spirituality, see the greatness of the Creator, and aspire for Him.

Other coarser parts gradually subside, fall off, and lose contact with the nations’ aspiration for spirituality.

But if those of Israel who must study Kabbalah and then pass it on to the nations of the world diminish the importance of the inner part of the Torah in comparison with the mechanical observance of the precepts, the outer part of Israel, all opponents of Kabbalah, prevail over Kabbalists. As a result, the outer part of the nations, the destructive elements, rises above the righteous person, which leads the world to wars, catastrophes, hostilities, and suffering.

Furthermore, this leads to strengthening of the outer part of the nations over their inner part, so that the worst and most destructive of them prevail over their inner part, the righteous ones. This brings destruction and death, such as our generation has been a witness to.

Therefore we can see that the redemption of Israel and the rest of the world, wholly depends on the learning of “The Book of Zohar” and Kabbalah. The opposite is true also. All the afflictions that have befallen Israel and the world are due to their neglecting the study of Kabbalah (as compared to the external rituals) and treating it as something superfluous.

70. This is what “The Book of Zohar” says: “Come and wake up for the sake of spiritual ascent. Your heart is empty and you lack wisdom and the understanding of the Creator”.

In other words, “The Zohar” states: whatever you may be doing should only be for the sake of achieving equivalence of form with the Him.

This way, we rise to the level of eternity and perfection. Only Kabbalah can guide and correct us, whereas all other teachings and even the outer part of the Torah increases egoism. The nations with a higher level of egoism are greedy, resourceful, craving for pleasures of this world. Why is this so?

It is because instead of elevating their soul, they focus more on the body. Naturally, since this is not what they are supposed to do, although successful in their undertakings, they push themselves and the whole world to a catastrophe.

It is said about this generation that the Upper spirit (light) disappears and never returns. This is the spirit of Mashiach which is necessary for redeeming all people from suffering. This spirit disappears and stops shining in the world. Woe to those people who cause the light of Mashiach to depart and leave the world by making the Torah dry and tasteless, without Upper understanding and knowledge. They confine themselves to the practical aspects of the Torah and make no effort to try and understand the wisdom of Kabbalah. They do not wish to contemplate the secrets of the Torah, grasp the meaning of man’s actions and attain the Creator. Woe to them, who by their actions cause poverty, war, violence, pillage, killings and destructions in the world.

This is a quotation from “The Book of Zohar”, not the words of the Baal HaSulam or one of the modern Kabbalists.

Thus, all good and bad in the world is predetermined by the presence or absence of the Upper light in it proportionate to the Kelim that have already developed in the world – HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY. It therefore turns out that Israel, whose mission is to bring the Kabbalistic method to the nations, is responsible for the state of the world, both good and bad.

71. These words, as we have explained, concern those people who study the outer part of Torah, treating its inner part as something unnecessary, and pay little or no attention to it.

This fault is typical all over the world. The outer part of Israel influences the inner part, meaning that common believers are openly hostile to Kabbalists and are convinced that they are engaged in something totally wrong. Accordingly, the outer part of the nations of the world prevails over the inner.

All destructive elements raise their heads and wish to destroy the world, and primarily the people of Israel. This is because they do not fulfill their mission. The general governance is designed in such a way that the inner part could influence the outer one, while the outer part would in turn exert pressure and adjust the inner part.

After our grave sins, we have born witness to the sufferings predicted by “The Zohar”. The finest of us perished, for “the righteous are the first to suffer”. Of all the most prominent Kabbalists who used to live in Russia, only a small number remained in this country.

The Baal HaSulam says that 200-300 years ago there were many Kabbalists in Russia and the Ukraine (the Baal Shem Tov with his disciples, the famous cradle of Kabbalistic learning in Kotzk, Poland). All of them have disappeared because, as he states, if the generations fall, the best are first to perish.

It is now incumbent upon us, this tiny remnant, to right the wrong (i.e., the mechanical observance of precepts and the indifference to Kabbalah).

If every one of us takes upon himself with all his soul and mind to enhance the inner aspect of the Torah and to give it its rightful place, then each of us will strengthen the inner part within him and in the whole world.

Then our inner part and the inner part of the whole world, meaning the righteous of the nations of the world, those that aspire to the Creator (and wish to justify His actions) unite in such a joint effort that they will correct the world. A correct pyramid construction will be created in which the pure vessels will be at the top, and the coarse vessels will be at the bottom, so that we will draw on ourselves the Upper light.

In this way, the Upper light will be manifested in all the Kelim of HaBaD, HaGaT, and NHY, in all souls. Through us it will reach the rest of the world’s vessels. Nature on all of its levels, the still, vegetative, animal, and naturally, human, will be good and prosperous. It will receive the spiritual fulfillment that it needs, rise to the level of the Creator, and we will achieve the Purpose of creation.

It depends on how quickly we will accomplish this task in the 236 years left until the end of the 6000-year period starting from where we are now. Instead of it being a path of development of the Kelim, it will turn into a path of compulsion by the absence of light, i.e., a path of horrific suffering. The Holocaust and the two world wars may be just a beginning.

The Baal HaSulam speaks of the third and the fourth world wars. Already in 1934-1936 he was writing about a neutron bomb. One can find it in his manuscripts. He gives many things different names, but actually he writes about the destructive forces that will be in man’s hands in the future. It is in our power to prevent all this; it depends solely on us.

We know that the world consists of four stages of development according to the four phases of the descending light. Correspondingly, there are four destructions and four exiles. Our exile was the last. It has ended physically, and it must end spiritually. The two world wars may be complemented by two more, unless we change. We are not obliged to drink the cup of woe to the end; it is in our power to prevent these two world wars that are looming ahead of us.

So everything depends on us, on the first generation that begins its correction under the influence of the light. All the vessels are completed, we only need to acquire the Masach (screen) and start transferring the light to this world. Thanks to that, the world will painlessly achieve its predestination. We have to set it as our goal, for, as we know, the general and the particular are completely equal, so it turns out that each one of us determines the state of the whole world.

I hope that we will be worthy of our great teachers, and capable of bringing their legacy to the world. We have every opportunity to become the Creator’s special messengers and fulfill our mission. We are already doing it, i.e., the Creator has already entitled us to accomplish this task. Now the question is whether we are ready to take it upon ourselves or not.

I believe that we will succeed in conducting the light to the world, as befitting the heirs of great Kabbalists. Imagine what spiritual reward is prepared for all of us who take part in this noble mission.

The Baal HaSulam has written four introductions to “The Zohar”: “The Introduction to the Book of Zohar”, “The Preface to the Book of Zohar”, “The Preamble to the Commentary of Sulam”, and “The Preamble to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”. They give us an adequate understanding of the book, so that by tuning ourselves to it, we can draw the Upper, Divine Light, the force, which ushers us into the spiritual realm.

We learn that the light is emanated from the Creator. This light is referred to as a “zero (or root) phase”, which is afterwards called Keter pertaining to the Sefirot. The zero phase builds for itself a Kli, phase one, the will to receive, or Hochma. By acting inside the Kli, the light creates a sensation of its source in it, i.e., of the zero phase.

Therefore, first, the light creates a desire in the zero phase, and then gives it a sensation of itself. Since the desire wants to feel pleasure, enter into it, connect with it, it reveals the root, the source of this desire, namely the zero phase.

Thus, sub-phases emerge within phase one. A desire is created and feels pleasure. Consequently, by feeling pleasure, the desire longs to enter it, “cling” to it. While being “inside”, it begins to feel the source of pleasure, and, naturally, this sensation creates in it a new desire to become similar to the source.

This similarity to the source of pleasure happens to be a transition from phase one to phase two. Phase two wishes to become similar to the source, but this decision is made at the end of phase one. Thus, it gives birth to a new desire – to bestow. This phase two is called Bina.

Bina in its turn consists of several sub-phases. In this way, the light’s influence inside the desire creates in it a series of consecutive transformations.

Here I see fit to emphasize that the Upper Light affecting us is able to do with us absolutely everything: make us either similar or opposite to itself. We should only expose ourselves to its maximum influence, try to connect with it as closely as we possibly can. All of this can be achieved by studying “The Book of Zohar”, provided we are correctly tuned to the ultimate purpose.

Therefore, all the aforementioned introductions are of great significance to us. The Baal HaSulam wishes to expose us to the light that is emanated during the study of “The Zohar”, to help us penetrate more deeply into this light with the intention of merging with its source. This depends on us.

While the descending development of the four phases of the light and of all the Partzufim in the worlds is a result of the Creator’s actions, we must climb the spiritual ladder on our own by exposing ourselves to the influence of the Ohr Makif. Hence, we should study the introductions to “The Book of Zohar”, which were specially written for this sole purpose.

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